Autism, Motherhood

Point me to the Meltdown-Free Zone

This morning started off with quite a bang.  I mean, a literal bang.  As in, Carter threw a major fit this morning when I dressed him and in his display of resistance, he threw his head back while I carried him through the hallway and BANG.  Head, meet wall.  It wasn’t bad in an “OMG let me check for bleeding” kind of way, but it was bad in an “OMG I’ve already fought you to get dressed, my hair isn’t brushed, and we’re going to be late for breakfast” kind of way.  {Insert Big Sigh Here}.

So, how do I inform Carter that he’s in a “Meltdown Free Zone” and his crazy shenanigans aren’t allowed?  I ask for advice because when I tell him that what he’s doing is unacceptable, I don’t think he hears me through the deafening screams he produces.  And of course, he just doesn’t comprehend.

I am at a loss as to the what the underlying causes of Carter’s breakdowns are.  Is he tired?  If so, why won’t he go to bed earlier than he does?  I can put him to bed at 9 p.m and he’ll still be up at midnight.  Clapping, babbling, anything but sleeping.  He’s fallen asleep at the breakfast table at school.  So, he could just be cranky from fatigue.  But what does he have against tennis shoes?  He did not want to put on his tennis shoes this morning, but didn’t have a problem with his crocs.  He got mad when I put his pants on and he just kicked and screamed.  What’s a mom to do?  Take a deep breath?  Nope, that didn’t work.  Count to ten?  Nope.  Didn’t make it past three before getting the wind knocked out of me.  Walk away?  No time for that.  I just had to keep going while my frustration and confusion overwhelmed me.

When I tried to put his jacket on Carter went to full blown meltdown, which is when he banged his head on the wall.  He refused to put on his jacket and I just gave up.  You win Carter.  Maybe he wasn’t cold.  Maybe he wasn’t in the mood.  Maybe he didn’t like how his jacket felt on him this morning.  Maybe he was tired.  I’ll never know because he can’t tell me.  We both just end up in tears.  I don’t know how to fix it and my patience gets extremely tested.  He’s frustrated, I’m frustrated.  He gets over it when he gets his way and I’m just defeated.

We both need to find the Meltdown-Free Zone and fast.


Meltdowns need restrictions.
Meltdowns need restrictions.

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